We're just weeks away from the start of Phase 5 in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, which means it's the perfect time to gauge the impact previous projects have had. Despite being the worst-reviewed MCU movie to date and a massive flop at the box office, Eternals was viewed for 4.236 billion minutes in 2022, making it the only MCU movie in the top 15.
Seeing Eternals as the most popular MCU movie of the previous year is of course surprising to many, given the production quality we have been accustomed to in the previous four phases. It’s hard to live up to fan-favorite Spider-Man: No Way Home, but Eternals has managed to carve up a spot for itself on streaming platforms. The report from Nielsen shows that Eternals was the ninth most popular Disney+ movie in 2022, and the only MCU movie to crack Disney’s top 10.
More importantly, Eternals was the 13th most popular movie on streaming services, which is great news considering the film barely managed to gross $400 million at the global box office despite its $200 million budget. Not only is this a major low for an MCU movie but it also goes in spite of the poor reception it received. Upon its release on Nov. 5, 2021, Eternals barely mustered up a 47 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. The audience had a warmer reception to the release, giving it a 77 percentile rating.
The movie follows a group of immortal alien beings that emerge from hiding and are dedicated to protecting Earth from their ancient counterparts known as Deviants. Their battles take the Deviants to the brink of extinction but after they lose one of theirs, the Eternals realize the scale of their actions. With a cast composed of Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, and many more recognizable names, it was always a mystery how the project fell short. It seems that the heart-wrenching story and star-studded cast hit harder after viewing it a few times, but releasing the movie as soon as the cinema’s opened surely played a part in the poor performance.
In the meantime, Chloe Bennet seemingly confirmed her return to the MCU as Quake while reports came out that Marvel's Avengers Game will be shutting down later this year. James Gunn is still facing backlash about his intentions to bring the MCU crew with him to DC.
The next MCU film, Ant-man and the Wasp: Quantumania, premieres on February 17.